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The American Midwest


lperry
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In today's New York Times. Click.

...across the Midwest, wineries are thriving, both as tourism magnets and profit-making businesses. Some are even producing quality wine, sommeliers say, made possible by French-American grape hybrids that are bred to thrive in cold climates.

Look out, California -

“We’re not afraid to take them on,” said Fred L. Dailey, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Bragging about a recent West Coast competition where an Ohio Riesling won an award, Mr. Dailey said dismissively, “We beat out all those over-oaked chardonnays over there.”

When I was in grad school in Illinois, some of us would bicycle around the local wineries tasting and picnicking. It was great fun, and we liked to support our local farmers. By the time I left, many of the wineries that had just started when I got there were producing very drinkable wines. I think this is a wonderful trend, and I'll continue to support my local wineries now in Virginia. Is anyone else up for the local wines?

-L

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Absolutely ... in additon to the wines of Virginia (which I've tried and liked while vacationing in the Shenandoah), Pennsylvania has some very drinkable wine. My local winery is in SE PA, the Chadd's Ford winery (in -- where else? -- Chadd's Ford), but Bucks County has some good ones as well ...

CSA, local food, slow food -- all come from the same principle -- local foods represent the best of the terroir ... and the best value for money you can get.

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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I need to find out if anyone makes a PA Zinfandel. I am doing a demo at the PA farm show and want to use a Zin for my grilled Tri Tip. Anyone have any info on Zins?

Chris, here's an article from last month about PA wines which says that the Zindandel grape won't grow there.

As drinking local wines, I do that. But then I guess my state is already known for wine production.

M. Thomas

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As drinking local wines, I do that.  But then I guess my state is already known for wine production.

That counts, but you don't get as many points as someone who lives in, say, North Dakota or Florida. :raz:

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In my neck of the woods, the wineries have been flourishing for many years.

The soil here is ideal for grape growing and the many hundreds of acres of grapes that surround us are a loud testament to that fact.

"Harbor Country" as this area of Michigan is known, is about 75 miles from Chicago right along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Here is a link to some of the local wineries are their wares.

http://www.harborcountry.org/php/attractio...eries.php?city=

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Missouri has some really great wineries. Here's a great site for all things Missouri wine, and my friends and I like to go to Les Bourgeois' A-Frame cafe overlooking the Missouri River for a fun Saturday, I've been to a couple really nice dinners at their Blufftop Bistro, and buy most of my wine from them via our local grocery store. I really like their La Belle and Solay wines. :wub:

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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Missouri has some really great wineries. Here's a great site for all things Missouri wine, and my friends and I like to go to Les Bourgeois' A-Frame cafe overlooking the Missouri River for a fun Saturday, I've been to a couple really nice dinners at their Blufftop Bistro, and buy most of my wine from them via our local grocery store. I really like their La Belle and Solay wines. :wub:

Thanks for posting this- I spent a semester on sabbatical at the University of Missouri in Columbia and went to the Blufftop Bistro several times. *Pause for moment of nostalgia.* I thought the chef did a really nice job of pairing the food with the wine. Then, of course, there's that incredible view. You can even get there on the Katy rails-to-trails bike path. It's great to hear they are still around.

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Missouri has some really great wineries. Here's a great site for all things Missouri wine, and my friends and I like to go to Les Bourgeois' A-Frame cafe overlooking the Missouri River for a fun Saturday, I've been to a couple really nice dinners at their Blufftop Bistro, and buy most of my wine from them via our local grocery store. I really like their La Belle and Solay wines. :wub:

Thanks for posting this- I spent a semester on sabbatical at the University of Missouri in Columbia and went to the Blufftop Bistro several times. *Pause for moment of nostalgia.* I thought the chef did a really nice job of pairing the food with the wine. Then, of course, there's that incredible view. You can even get there on the Katy rails-to-trails bike path. It's great to hear they are still around.

A little bit of trivia for you all:

Before Prohibition, Missouri was the nation's leading wine-producing state, due mainly to the Germans who migrated from Pennsylvania to the east-central part of the state, around Hermann (whose streets are named after those of Philadelphia, from which its first settlers came).

Also correcting a spelling nit upthread:

The community along the Brandywine Creek in southwestern Delaware County, Pennsylvania, that is home to the Wyeths and the winery is indeed Chadds Ford.

The winery, however, calls itself Chaddsford (one word).

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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The local winery--Wollersheim-- produces some tremendously underrated whites. I really like their Prairie Fumet, which is to my uneducated palate, stunning. Runs about nine bucks a bottle. Their winemaking master (WTF is the learned term for that person?) was just on local NPR, and it was a really good show. I learned a lot. He is predictably from France which I found heartening.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I don't mean to be a crank, and I've tried local wines in places like Georgia, Iowa and Michigan, and they are mostly awful. I have almost never had an American wine not made on the west coast tjhat was worth what they were charging for it. You hit France or Germany or Greece and you buy a bottle of plonk and it's maybe just OK -- maybe barely drinkable -- but it's dirt cheap and distinctive. It tastes like where it's from and it costs a couple of bucks a liter. You get a local wine in the U.S. and some joker wants you to pay $15 for a mediocre-at-best bottle of plonk just because they had the foresight to put their vineyard in Texas or Pennsylvania. I'm happy to have the Midwest look like the south of France -- somehow vineyards are more romantic than cornfields, though maybe it's just because they're more exotic here -- but they need to start making quality everyday stuff before they pretend that they can produce actual premium wines.

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I don't mean to be a crank, and I've tried local wines in places like Georgia, Iowa and Michigan, and they are mostly awful.  I have almost never had an American wine not made on the west coast tjhat was worth what they were charging for it.  You hit France or Germany or Greece and you buy a bottle of plonk and it's maybe just OK -- maybe barely drinkable -- but it's dirt cheap and distinctive.  It tastes like where it's from and it costs a couple of bucks a liter.  You get a local wine in the U.S. and some joker wants you to pay $15 for a mediocre-at-best bottle of plonk just because they had the foresight to put their vineyard in Texas or Pennsylvania.  I'm happy to have the Midwest look like the south of France -- somehow vineyards are more romantic than cornfields, though maybe it's just because they're more exotic here -- but they need to start making quality everyday stuff before they pretend that they can produce actual premium wines.

I will admit, you have to shop around. More times than not I have gone through an entire tasting in a small winery only to purchase a t-shirt instead of a bottle of wine. However, there are some good ones out there that do compete with wines from the west and win medals (that are usually prominently displayed.) Tarara winery is one that's close to DC that has some good wine that is, I will concede, pretty pricey. I had a nice chambourcin at the Shenandoah winery this summer, however, that I recall was very reasonable.

In comparison to Europe, the American wine industry is very young, particularly outside of the west coast. It also had to pull itself back up after prohibition. Then there is the added difficulty of marketing wine varietals with names that are not immediately recognizable. It's going to be a tough climb for these guys, and I want to support them.

When I go to a local winery, I'm not looking for the best bottle of wine I can buy. I go to have a lovely experience with friends while supporting local winemakers. I like buying a bottle of wine directly from the hands of the person who crafted it. This may or may not appeal to you. If it doesn't, then don't do it. Head to Total Wine and buy something that you will like. Then maybe you won't be so cranky. :wink:

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Missouri has some really great wineries. Here's a great site for all things Missouri wine, and my friends and I like to go to Les Bourgeois' A-Frame cafe overlooking the Missouri River for a fun Saturday, I've been to a couple really nice dinners at their Blufftop Bistro, and buy most of my wine from them via our local grocery store. I really like their La Belle and Solay wines. :wub:

That's a fun winery, perched up on the bluff overlooking the river valley. Last year the organized bicycle ride along the Katy (rail trail) camped there. It was funny to see exhausted riders pitching tents among the grapes, trying to find shade from the late afternoon heat.

I also picked up some very drinkable wine from a little winery in Cole Camp (?), a little German influenced town about an hour miles east of Kansas City.

Here's an interesting article, mostly about grass roots efforts to implement place-based labelling for goods local to Missouri, but it touches on the wineries in the river valley.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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As drinking local wines, I do that.  But then I guess my state is already known for wine production.

That counts, but you don't get as many points as someone who lives in, say, North Dakota or Florida. :raz:

I don't know about North Dakota, but Minnesota has a number of thriving vineyards and wineries.

An article in the Fall 2006 issue of Edible Twin Cities magazine, "Discovering Minnesota Wines", listed seventeen locations. Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings is the oldest and probably best known. Their motto is, "Where The Grapes Can Suffer". :rolleyes:

SB (Will suffer too! Below zero temps forcast for tonite! :sad: )

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Thanks for the plugs for Heeartland wines in the press (except you Busboy :raz: ), and thank you also for your plug for my friends at Edible Twin Cities.

We have, admittedly, a number of bad wines produced in Iowa. But we have some really good ones too, and considering the swill that was coming out of California in the 1950s & 60s, I'd say we're doingpretty well for such a young region. It's very hard to grow good grapes here, because not only is the winter cold and long, but the soil is too darn good. Vines need to be stressed to make good wine grapes.

But there are a few places, like Newton, and West Branch, and the whole area around Dubuque and Decorah that have lots of minerally, rocky soil. We're off to a good start, and it'll keep improving.

By the way, there's also a good grappa (yep, grappa) being made a few miles outside Cedar Rapids. :shock:

Peace,

kmf

www.KurtFriese.com

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  • 2 months later...

There are some interesting articles on the progress of wineries in the Midwest and East Coast at Appellation America. I believe they have regular correspondents in several areas, so if you live near Midwest wine territories you may want to find your region and bookmark it in order to follow stories on the local winemakers and vineyards. I met with the staff last year for a tasting of ten different wines produced from the Norton grape. Some were very similar to a cabernet franc--plummy, a little tobacco. Still some work to be done, clearly, but very interesting stuff.

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  • 1 month later...

I think there are some really good wines in Missouri and not just from the Hermann area. Around the Ste.Genevieve area ('bout an hour south of St. Louis) there are approx. 6 wineries. Some have wonderful wines.

Great idea to be able to also buy ones wines locally. If I try to be seasonal/fresh/local with everything else it only makes sense to do this with my wines too.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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What's funny about the Ste. Gen wineries (actually south of there) is that I was raised in that neck of the woods before the wineries came in. We used to drive 45 minutes into nowhere from Ste. Gen to get to our family cabin past Coffman. On the way, there was this over-the-top "castle" that we would laugh at amongst all of the red barns. It eventually became a fancy restaurant which I never went to. You have to understand that Ste. Gen is out of the way and this is even further.

When I moved away after high school the area started to blossom (no connection between the two occurances). When I would return the wines were barely drinkable - way too fruity (more like spiked kool-aid). The last time I went back there were quite a few wineries - major acreage for the area. The wine was not so bad. I'm probably biased against it, so it may be better than I think.

Well, there's memory lane for you. I guess the days of Falstaff beer at the cabin are gone! Grab a pound of Oberle Dog (sausage) and enjoy a carafe.

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There is a winery near here (NE corner of Kansas) that produces a chardonnel and a chambourcin that are very respectable. They've won awards in tastings on the left coast, so it's not just local pride talking :wink: They offer more wines in the sweeter style that seems to be more popular around here - they know their market and have to make a living - but those two varieties are definitely drinkable.

Holy-Field Winery

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

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